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Navy Seabees Appoint First Region-Wide Female Commander

Solina
Capt. Constance Solina takes command at NCG 2 (USN)

Published Jul 13, 2023 7:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Navy's Seabees have a new first to report: for the first time, a Naval Construction Group has a female commander. Capt. Constance Solina has relieved Capt. Jeff Deviney as the commander of Naval Construction Group 2, based in Gulfport. She will also be the first woman to command all 4,500 Seabees on the Atlantic seaboard. 

“You [Solina] know exactly what needs to be done to get the Seabees ready for the next fight,” said Capt. Deviney. “With you in the lead, I know we have the right team in place going forward.”

Solina is from McLean, Virginia, and is a graduate of Purdue University. She entered the Navy directly after her undergraduate degree through the ROTC program, and went on to earn a masters in environmental engineering from the University of Texas. She served aboard the destroyer USS Spruance as combat information center officer in the Mediterranean during Operation Enduring Freedom. After a series of shoreside commands in engineering, she became director of training for the Seabees, overseeing instruction for 27,000 personnel per year. Her most recent post was in U.S. European Command, where she was the chief engineer for theater logistics directorate. 

“I am humbled, privileged and honored to assume command of NCG 2 and continue the tradition of Seabees providing a capability like no other to our Combatant Commanders,” said Solina. “I look forward to continuing the Seabee legacy, drawing on our rich history and traditions while adapting to the changing strategic environment to answer the call when our nation needs Seabees and the ‘Can-Do’ spirit.”

The Seabees have had female officers since the Second World War, when Ens. Kathleen F. Lux became the first woman in the civil engineer corps. The first enlisted woman entered the branch in 1972 after then-Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Elmo Zumwalt opened up ratings to female servicemembers. 

The Seabees have also been a launch pad for talented female officers. Rear Adm. (ret.) Katherine Gregory commanded a Seabees batallion early in her career, and went on to serve as the Navy's chief of civil engineers and head of Naval Facilities Engineering Command.